Friday 30 November 2012

Reader Recipe: White Stuff

When this recipe was sent to me from the Knox United Church cookbook from Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, I could only hang my head in shame. I’ve talked before about how cakers are pretty uninspired when it comes to naming their food. White Stuff, sadly, is about the laziest name I’ve come across  well, besides Pink Thing.

I’m glad the world isn’t run by cakers. Just imagine how adjectiveless everything would be. Nail polish would fall into two colour categories: red and not red. Movie ad headlines would scream “NOT BAD!” High-end restaurant menus would feature items like “Expensive Cow Pieces” and “Eggy Pudding with a Crust That’s Been Blow-Torched.”

That’s not to say White Stuff isn’t tasty. It most certainly is. Just do yourself a favour and call it anything but.

And that, my friends, officially brings "Stuff Made with Cereal" month to its sugary end! I’m off to the dentist now to get some new teeth.

2 cups Cheerios      
2 cups Crispix cereal
2 cups peanuts  
2 cups pretzels
2 cups melted white chocolate

Mix first four ingredients in a big bowl. Add melted chocolate. Stir lightly till coated.

PS: HOLY MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR! My Caker Christmas extravaganza starts on Monday! I’m really pulling out all the stops. Trust me – this is going to make Hee Haw’s Christmas Special look really low budget. Stay tuned.

Source: Knox 2000, Knox United Church, Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan

Monday 26 November 2012

Chex Caramel Chocolate Drizzles

Well, here we are − the final week of “Stuff Made with Cereal” month and boy, do I have the battle scars to prove it. My palate is all scraped, I’m so addicted to corn syrup that A&E wants me for Intervention, and I have enough Niacin running through my veins to kill a small animal.

For those of you assuming otherwise, today’s recipe proves that caker cooking goes far beyond coil-bound recipe books from the '70s. In fact, the wonderful world of cakery is all around us. We just need to open our eyes – and hearts – to find it.

I discovered this recipe recently on the back of a box of Rice Chex cereal. And you know what? It actually made Rice Chex taste good. Funny how melted caramel can do that. Serve this to your guests in a Cool Whip container. Those extra touches can often mean so much.

6 cups Rice Chex cereal
25 caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup melted chocolate chips

Place cereal in large microwaveable bowl. In medium microwaveable bowl, microwave caramels, butter and milk uncovered on High 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over cereal; gently stir until evenly coated. Microwave on High 3-4 minutes, stirring after each minute, until just beginning to brown. Spread on waxed paper to cool. In small microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips uncovered on High about 1 minute or until chocolate can be stirred smooth. Drizzle over snack. Refrigerate until set. Store in airtight container.

Note: I don’t own a microwave, so I used a double boiler and then put the mixture in the oven at 250°, stirring every minute or so until it browned.

Source: Rice Chex cereal box

PS: MOTHER OF GOD! Caker Christmas is just around the corner and I've got the gold spraypaint-stained fingertips to prove it. Watch for my month-long extravaganza, starting Monday, December 3.

Friday 23 November 2012

Special K Squares

I’m into week three of “Stuff Made with Cereal” month and I'm feeling a little strange. It could be because Mildred has been distant lately or that I’m bazaared out, but I keep having nightmares about being chased by apple head dolls while wearing knitted slippers. Maybe I’m consuming too much corn syrup from all these cereal recipes. LSD has nothing on this shit.

Speaking of drugs, our latest caker recipe involves Special K, a cereal that’s a bit of a mystery to me. What does the K stand for? What’s it made of? And why do I always think of a woman swirling around in a red dress when I eat it?

My taste-tester had issues with the butterscotch chips. He says their fake maple-y scent stays lodged in his nose for weeks, but he’s a tad dramatic. In other words, Italian. Feel free to substitute the butterscotch chips with peanut butter chips if you don’t like things lodged in your nose.

½ cup white sugar
½ cup corn syrup
Place on stove, let come to a bubble. Remove from stove. Add ½ cup peanut butter. Pour this mixture over following mixture:
3 cups Special K cereal
½ cup coconut
Mix thoroughly. Spread in medium-sized pan (greased.)
Melt together:
1 package butterscotch chips
½ package chocolate chips
Spread over mixture in pan. No more cooking needed. Keep in cool place. Cut in squares.

Source: “The Village” Cook Book

PS: GOOD LORD! Caker Christmas is right around the corner! This blog’s gonna explode like a can of fake snow. I'm talking food, crafts, reader recipes and more. And don't throw out your milk cartons. You'll find out why soon enough.

Monday 19 November 2012

Twinkie Cake

I photographed this from the bottom to showcase all the Twinkie goodness.

We interrupt “Stuff Made with Cereal” month (again) with a special news bulletin.

Last week, there was some very distressing news for cakers across North America when Hostess announced it’s going out of business.

Needless to say, the possibility of living in a Twinkie-less world scares the crap out of me, so I had no other choice but to clear out my local grocery store in preparation for Twinkie Armageddon. (If anyone’s interested, I’ve got a garage full of them and they’re ten twenty fifty one hundred bucks a box. Firm.)

This delectable Twinkie Cake comes from Caker Cooking reader Bob. Bob's responsible for providing me the recipes for such delicacies as Tang Pie and Tater Tot Casserole. It seemed only fitting to post Bob's Twinkie Cake this week. Will this be the last time anyone ever makes a Twinkie cake? Is this really a sign that the Mayan calendar is right? Only time will tell. In the meantime, eat. For the love of god, hurry up and EAT!!!

Thanks, Bob!

1 box Twinkies
1 can crushed pineapple
Bananas (sliced)
1 instant vanilla pudding (made according to package directions)
1 Cool Whip

Slice each Twinkie in half (down through the middle). Line 9x13 pan with Twinkies. Cover Twinkies with sliced bananas. Put pineapple on top of bananas. Spread pudding on top of pineapple. Top with Cool Whip. Chill.

Source: Cooking with Good Judgment

Friday 16 November 2012

Caker Fail: Carol's Girdle Busters

We interrupt "Stuff Made with Cereal" month with a tale on how not to be stupid-like.

By now, I think we can all agree that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. But every now and then, my dumbness manages to find another floor down.

Recently, I came across a recipe called Carol’s Girdle Busters. Naturally, I had to make them. Any recipe with “Carol” and “girdle” in the name is like a Kmart Blue Light Special flashing in my brain. But halfway through making them, something seemed vaguely familiar. Then I realized – I’d already made them. Three months ago.

At the time, they were called Peanut Butter Gems, so maybe my confusion is understandable. But aside from the names, both recipes are pretty much the same.

Carol’s recipe follows. The Peanut Butter Gems recipe is here. Whatever version you make is up to you. And if you feel like calling them Carol’s Peanut Girdle Gem Busters, well, you go right ahead. I'm the last person to judge.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter
1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 cups icing sugar
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
¼ cup butter

Melt butter and peanut butter together. Take off heat and add graham cracker crumbs and icing sugar. Press firmly into 9x9 pan. Melt chocolate chips with butter. Mix until smooth. Pour and spread chocolate over crumb crust. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Source: Centennial Central School Cook Book, Arva Ontario, 1995

Monday 12 November 2012

Puffed Wheat Cake

Last week I did Cheerio Chews. This week I’m doing Puffed Wheat Cake. I’m sensing a trend here. So I’m officially christening November as “Stuff Made with Cereal” month. Folks, you heard it here first.

For those of you not familiar with puffed wheat, there are two important facts you need to know: 1) it comes in a bag the size of a pillowcase, and 2) you can use it as packing material.

My mom used to make Puffed Wheat Cake (a.k.a. Puffed Wheat Squares) for my dad because it’s a delicacy mainly enjoyed by prairie cakers. (My dad was from Saskatchewan.) As a kid, my relationship with Puffed Wheat Cake was a conflicted one. On the one hand, it didn’t taste all that great (a bit like Styrofoam), but on the other hand, the Styrofoam was sweet. So you can imagine my sleepless nights.

If you make this, try to eat it right away. After a day or so, it gets all chewy and falls apart. Or you can do what I did − put the pieces in a bowl, add milk and enjoy some homemade Sugar Crisp.

Thanks to puffed wheat aficionados Jeanne, Alexis, Tanis and Mojogrrl for encouraging me on my return journey down puffed wheat lane. A big piece is being shipped to you, packed in − what else? − puffed wheat.

Mix in pan
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup syrup (See note)
Bring to boil. Add 8 cups puffed wheat. Pat down in greased pan.

Note: Corn syrup

UPDATE: Some people prefer Choclit Puffed Wheat Squares. Here's an alternate recipe.

Source: Handwritten recipe card

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Cheerio Chews

Oh, glorious November! The leaves have been stripped from the trees, it’s dark by 5pm and I’m in track pants thanks to the mini Coffee Crisps left over from Halloween. If there’s one bright spot in all this gloom and despair, it’s that November is also the month for church Christmas bazaars.

If you haven’t been to a church bazaar, I feel sorry for you because they’re great. A bazaar is like a garage sale, bakery, coffee shop, Danielle Steel paperback store and macramé convention all rolled into one. Every Saturday morning for the next few weeks, you’ll find me in a church basement, asking a senior woman wearing a beaded eyeglass string, “Do these knitted slippers come in monochromatic colours?” 

I guarantee you’ll find these delicious Cheerio Chews on a bazaar bake table, alongside chocolate haystacks, mini butter tarts and shortbread cookies with bits of maraschino cherries on top. And because these chews have Cheerios in them, they help fight cholesterol. So they’re healthy. And while we're on the subject of lies, Coffee Crisp prevents cancer.

½ package caramels (24)
2 tablespoons water

Melt in double boiler. Add ¼ cup peanut butter and stir until mixed together. Remove from heat and add 1 ½ cups Cheerios. Drop by teaspoon on waxed paper (See note 1). Put M&M candy in centre (See note 2).

Special thanks to master chefs, Adam and Justin, for helping me make these!

Note 1: These are pretty sticky, so there may be some pieces of waxed paper on the bottom. Don't worry about ingesting it. Waxed paper passes pretty easily. Trust me on this one.

Note 2: I didn't.

Source: Handwritten recipe card
This is my mother’s handwriting. Apparently, she thinks those little round things are called "cherrios."

Monday 5 November 2012

Apple Head Doll Winner!

Congratulations to Norbert "Bert" Birdie, winner of Caker Cooking's Apple Head Doll contest!

Bert walked away with 49% of the votes and has won himself a collection of cookbooks from Random House Canada!

Thanks to Honey Boo Boo, Monsieur Pépin, Josh Romney, Bea Leach, Maroushka and Mr. Smith, and their creators, for doing such a great job. 

What caker craft contest is next? Latch hook rugging? Corn husk dolls? Walnut shell mice? The possibilities are endless!